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Operator Responsibility

If you operate goods vehicles, you need to make sure that the loads you carry are secure and stable, both to protect your drivers and to meet your legal responsibilities. Load shifts can happen even at low speed and under normal driving conditions, so don't automatically assume that a load shift is a result of bad driving.

Making sure loads are secured properly helps to protect you, as an operator, and it also helps to reduce damage to your vehicles as a result of load movement. Headboard damage is a common consequence of load movement and this is something you should look out for - the headboard is vital to protect the driver against load movement under heavy braking and it may not do the job if it is already damaged.

You have a legal duty of care towards your drivers, so you should make sure they get the information and training they need, and you should also support them if they refuse to take a load they think is dangerous. It may be they have misunderstood how the load is secured, or it may be that the consignor has not realised that the way the vehicle is loaded is not safe.

Risk assessment is a legal requirement that helps you to identify issues and take reasonably practicable steps to deal with those issues before they become serious problems. It doesn't have to be a difficult or complicated process: HSE produce straightforward information on risk assessment

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